This question has both a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is that we iron clothes to remove wrinkles. The long version of this answer goes on to explain why we remove wrinkles from clothes. To understand why we iron, it is necessary to understand the history of ironing. However, to understand the history of ironing, it is necessary to understand the history of clothing.
Most people assume that human beings began wearing clothes for protection from the cold and other elements. However, new anthropological studies have shown that this is not the reason at all. People started wearing clothing as a symbol of status. This means the main purpose of clothes is simply as a decoration that lets other people know a little about who you are and how to interact with you.
About 7,000 years ago, as social statuses began to develop, the rich or powerful decided they didnít have enough bodily decorations, so fabric was created out of natural fibers: first flax, then cotton, wool, and silk. Needless to say, the idea of adorning the body in fabric was a big hit in many societies. However, many fabrics suffered from an inability to maintain their smoothness. They became wrinkled, and wrinkles are a representation of chaos or disorder, which most people strive to eliminate from their lives. Thus, smooth clothes are considered more aesthetic because they represent order. The pleasing aesthetic of non-wrinkled clothes may have originated with the skin. Tight, smooth skin has always been considered more aesthetic and desirable than old, wrinkled skin.
It was the Greeks who are credited with discovering that hot metal pressed against fabrics could remove the wrinkles. In 400 BC, the Greeks used a metal cylinder filled with hot coals that was rolled over the fabric. In the 1st century BC, the Chinese began to use metal pans with hot coals in them as irons. In some ancient societies, it has been discovered that hand-sized smooth rocks were heated in a fire and used to iron clothes. The first modern iron was simply a heavy, smooth-bottomed piece of iron fitted with a handle. It was put on top of a stove in order to heat it. After the invention of electricity, this same design was used, but an electric heating element was added behind the smooth metal surface.
Today, wearing clothes without wrinkles is considered a sign of respect, both to yourself and to others. Wearing wrinkled clothes is a sign that you do not respect yourself enough to consider your appearance, which in turn, may mean you have bad hygienic practices. In formal situations, wearing wrinkled clothing in the presence of superiors is considered a sign of disrespect to those superiors, as if they are not worthy of you going to the trouble of ironing your clothes.
Posted 4265 day ago